Press Releases

Subcommittee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Reform Act

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2017 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Washington, DC – Subcommittee leaders today introduced the bipartisan Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), a bill to address the rising costs of disasters in the United States and to reform federal disaster programs to ensure our communities are better prepared for future hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters.

H.R. 4460 was introduced by Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA), and Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Hank Johnson (D-GA). 

“After seeing the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma earlier this year, it is clear America needs a better system to ensure the effective use of taxpayer dollars when responding to and recovering from disasters,” Barletta said.  “In the district I represent, many businesses and homes were impacted by flood waters during Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene in 2011.  I know from experience that we must build back using mitigation techniques that will minimize the impact of future disasters.  Even conservative estimates have shown that for every $1 spent on mitigation, we can save between $4 and $8 in avoided disaster recovery costs.  Focusing on mitigation will help disaster prone communities across the nation build better and smarter.  It’s time to stop asking ‘what now?’ right after catastrophe strikes, and focus on ‘what’s next?’ to prepare for future disasters.  The Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2017 allows for improvements that will do just that by making mitigation a top priority.” 

“Communities across the country have been dealing with unprecedented disasters this year, including devastating hurricanes and wildfires,” Johnson said.  “This bill will help us better prepare for future disasters by focusing on predisaster mitigation and resilient rebuilding post-disaster, such as permitting proactive measures that allow electrical lines that were above ground to be buried after disaster strikes, among other activities.  The DRRA will help us save lives, limit property damage, and reduce recovery costs in the long run.”

The DRRA makes critical reforms to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) disaster response and recovery programs that will help our communities better prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against disasters of all kinds.  

In particular, the DRRA increases the federal emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation, which will reduce the future loss of life and the rising costs of disasters throughout America.  Furthermore, the DRRA incentivizes building and rebuilding better and smarter to facilitate speedy recovery efforts whenever and wherever disaster does strike.

Mitigation can encompass a wide variety of activities, including proactive preparation and planning, elevating or moving structures prone to flooding, and hardening structures to mitigate effects of hurricanes or earthquakes.  

More information about the DRRA can be found online here.

The Committee is scheduled to mark up the Disaster Recovery Reform Act on Thursday, November 30th.  More information about the markup is available here.


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